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Warriors down in-form Panthers

Warriors down in-form Panthers

A first loss in over two months and an injury to five-eighth Jamie Soward made for a miserable Sunday afternoon at Mt Smart Stadium for the Panthers, going down 30-20 at the hands of the Warriors.

After taking a 16-12 lead into the sheds, thanks mostly to the clever play of Soward, the Panthers fell to pieces after he left the field with a leg injury just before halftime, managing only four second half points as opposed to the Warriors’ 18.

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The win is the Warriors’ eighth of the season and sees them jump to 18 points with only an inferior points differential keeping them outside of the NRL top eight.

The New Zealanders flew out of the gates in front of a crowd of 12,801, earning a penalty on their very first set and making Penrith pay.

In his first game back from a break dealing with off-field issues, Jamal Idris quickly found he was in for a busy afternoon, lining up against the rampaging Tongan Konrad Hurrell.

With his first involvement of the game Hurrell isolated Idris, who missed badly on the attempted tackle, allowing the Warriors to score before Penrith had even touched the ball.

A Panthers no try decision a few minutes later for an offside proved costly, with the Warriors going down the other end and to score through Manu Vatuvei.

After a second sideline conversion from Johnson it was 12-0.

The Warriors had completely bossed the opening 20 minutes, making the most of 66% possession and four penalties, but the next 20 told a different story.

Finally getting their hands on the ball the Panthers got on the board via a slick Tyrone Peachey offload to Soward just before the half hour.

Leading 12-6 the Warriors had only themselves to blame for the next two tries, gifting easy field position which saw Josh Mansour and Matt Moylan cross before oranges.

Penrith ended the first period with 58% of the ball and an unlikely 16-12 lead.

A try to Simon Mannering early in the second half restored some confidence for the home side, before Konrad Hurrell took advantage of a Moylan in-goal brain explosion to score with under 20 remaining.

A darting try from James Segeyaro gave the Panthers some hope with 15 to go, but the energetic hooker turned villain a few minutes later when Johnson picked off his pass and ran 40 metres untouched to make confirm the 30-20 victory.

Peter Wallace spent the last 20 seconds in the bin after tackling Sam Tomkins without the ball, capping off a frustrating night for Penrith.

The Warriors could probably do without having a bye next week, given they finally appear to be gaining some confidence and momentum in 2014, but should appreciate the chance to rest some battered bodies.

Penrith take on the Wests Tigers next week with the unfamiliar feeling of defeat fresh on their mind.

Warriors 30 (Hurrell 2, Vatuvei, Mannering, Johnson tries; Johnson 5 goals) defeated Panthers 20 (Soward, Mansour, Moylan, Segeyaro tries; Soward 2 goals). Crowd: 12,801.

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